Over the course of a 162 game campaign, a lot can happen. We don’t expect you to catch everything that unfolds over the course of each week of the MLB season. Last week in baseball will serve as your guide to everything notable that happened over the course of the previous week of games.
From the walk-offs, sweeps, ridiculous plays, outstanding individual performances and slumps, we’ve got you covered.
The first week of May featured our second no-hitter of the season down in Mexico nonetheless, but it didn’t come the way you’d expect. The 3,000 hits club also got a new member, while another one of it’s members stepped away from the game. All those items and much more in the latest edition of Last Week in Baseball…
1) Mr. 3,000
Welcome Albert Pujols to the 3,000 hits club! The 38-year-old’s fifth-inning single off of Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Leake on Friday night punched Pujols’ ticket into the elite fraternity. Including Pujols, only 32 players in baseball history have accomplished the rare feat. Even more exclusively, Pujols is just the fourth player ever to have 3,000 hits and 600 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. MLB’s director of baseball research and development, Daren Willman, shared a pretty cool scatter plot graphic showing all those hits from the slugger’s 18-year career:
Congratulations to Albert Pujols on 3000 Hits. Let's take a look at what 3000 hits looks like over time… Amazing! pic.twitter.com/rb7ka9viZZ
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 5, 2018
2) Matt Harvey DFA’d
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Not so long ago, Matt Harvey was the ace of an up-and-coming Mets pitching staff and the Dark Knight of New York. Even after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014, Harvey bounced back in 2015, posting a 13-8 record along with a 2.71 ERA, while striking out 188 batters. From there things have gone south. Harvey’s ERA ballooned to 4.86 in 2016, 6.70 last season and 7.00 just a month into this current season, prompted the Mets designating him for assignment on Friday. His troubling off the field incidents, such as last year’s infamous absence from a game after partying until early in the morning didn’t help his cause either. Now the Mets have until the end of this next week to trade or release Harvey. Maybe a change of scenery will be good for the former ace.
3) Red hot Yankees
Whatever they’re feeding the top teams in the AL East, it’s working. Boston obviously got off to that crazy 17-2 start to the season and are still holding down the top spot in the division (for now). But the New York Yankees are coming in hot. After pulling off an impressive sweep of the Cleveland Indians that featured walk-off wins on Friday and Sunday, the “baby bombers” as they’re so affectionately called, have won 15 of their last 16 games. Sunday’s walk-off came via a three-run home run from the most recent addition to the young lineup, Gleyber Torres. This group may be young but they are fearless, and right now they’re striking fear into opponents as the hottest team in baseball. A major test awaits, as showdown with the Red Sox for first place in the AL East begins Tuesday.
4) Gleyber’s First Dinger
Torres capped off the Yankees weekend sweep of the Indians with that aforementioned three-run homer, but his first career home run came earlier in the series, on Friday. Of course he got the silent treatment upon his return to the dugout and played along with the inside joke perfectly. Take a look:
5) Combined No-No
Anyone in attendance for the first baseball game played down in Mexico this century were treated to a historic night on Friday, as the Los Angeles Dodgers pieced together a combined no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. It was the first of it’s kind for in Dodgers franchise history as well. Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia and Adam Liberatore did the honors for Los Angeles, as the Dodgers downed the Padres 4-0.
6) Mashing Mookie
Mookie Betts went on an absolute tear this past week, which included a stretch of three games where he clobbered five home runs. First came a three homer game on Wednesday against the Royals, which was his franchise record fourth career three home run game. For what it’s worth that record was previously held by Ted Williams and Betts broke it at 25. Anyway, he followed that up with solo shots on Thursday and Friday in each of the first two games of four versus the Rangers this weekend. That tear has Betts sitting all alone as the league leader in home runs, with 13. Over his last seven games, Betts is batting .409 with five homers, nine total hits, nine runs scored and eight RBI.
7) Mad Max
Max Scherzer was mowing down hitters at an alarming rate on Sunday. In what wound up being a 5-4, comeback victory for the Nationals, Scherzer struck out 15 batters over a mere 6 and 1/3 innings of work. That means only four of his outs came by batters putting the ball in play. Just ridiculous. Scherzer did give yield five hits and one earned run though and was pulled in the seventh with Washington clinging to a 1-0 lead and a runner on first. That run would come around to score as would two other runners in the inning for Philadelphia, but the Nats wound up rallying with four combined runs in the eighth and ninth to win 5-4.
8) Ichiro’s New Role
The great Ichiro Suzuki played what is likely his final game in the majors on Wednesday. He went 0-3 but scored a run as his Mariners lost to the A’s. The next day it was announced that the 44-year-old would be shifting into a role within the front office as a special assistant to the chairman. Essentially, he’ll be a players coach, but he won’t be doing the playing part, at least not for the rest of this season. If Wednesday was indeed his last game suiting up as a player, it marks the end of an era.
9) Stop Hitting Yourself
Houston Astros closer Ken Giles was not thrilled about giving up a ninth-inning home run the Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez on Tuesday, which helped propel New York to a 4-0 win. In need of something to take out his frsutrations on, Giles turned to, well, his own face. They say all closers are a little crazy. Giles appears to be no exception.
— Ben Burton (@b_burton12) May 2, 2018
10) Injuries Aplenty
May hasn’t come kindly for many notable players who suffered injuries this week. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is expected to miss a month after taking a foul tip to the groin on Saturday and needing surgery. Tigers slugger, Miguel Cabrera, is dealing with a hamstring issue that’s left him on the disabled list as of Friday. In the same division, Chicago White Sox phenom Yoan Moncada is also dealing with some hamstring tightness on the DL. Maybe the most devastating blow was the loss of Dodgers rising star Corey Seager for the season to Tommy John surgery. Johnny Cueto of the San Franciso Giants may be joining him. And the weekend ended with Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes suffering either a hip or quad injury (the team said it was the former but Cespedes said it was the latter) and leaving early. Mookie Betts also exited the game early for Boston on Sunday after being hit in the shoulder on his way to second base by Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman, who was attempting to start a double play.